December 12, 2012

Titans Host Bengals Before Heading to Houston This Week

THIS WEEK...
Idaho State at Cal State Fullerton
Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 | 7 p.m.
Fullerton, Calif.
Titan Gym (4,000)
Game Coverage: Live Stats | Audio | Video

Cal State Fullerton at Texas Southern
Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012 | 12 p.m. PT
Houston, Tex.
H&PE Arena (8,100)
Game Coverage: Live Stats | TSU Radio 

Complete Release in PDF Format Adobe PDF Icon

TIP OFF: With final exams looming on the horizon, a scuffling Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team (3-5 overall) looks to pass a pair of tests on the court this week as the Titans play host to Idaho State on Thursday (Dec. 13) at 7:05 p.m., before playing their final road contest of the calendar year on Sunday (Dec. 16) at Texas Southern in Houston.

BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in Titans' athletics by following us on Facebook (CSUF.Athletics) and Twitter (@FullertonTitans).

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: Thanks to a partnership with Arizona-based Stretch Internet, Cal State Fullerton's home games, as well as selected road contests, can be heard live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. Veteran voice of the Titans, Mike Martinez, will have the call live from Titan Gym on Thursday night against the Bengals. There will be no live Fullerton feed for Sunday's trip to Texas Southern.

SCOUTING THE BENGALS: A return match from a Feb. 19, 2011, Sears Bracket Buster meeting, Idaho State enters the week with a 1-6 overall record after falling to Oregon in its last contest, 87-35... the Bengals were held to under 20 points in each of the two halves against the Ducks... senior guard Melvin Morgan is the team's leading scorer at 12.9 points per game and rebounder at 5.3 rebounds per game, but is shooting just .367 from the floor... sophomore guard/forward Chris Hansen is also in double figures, averaging 10.3 ppg while shooting 39 percent from the field... Idaho State is 0-5 in true road games this season and has lost its last eight-straight dating back to a 79-73 at Northern Arizona on Feb. 11, 2012, in Flagstaff... as a team, the Bengals are averaging just 49.1 ppg and shooting .375 from the floor while allowing opponents to shoot .427 from the field, but average just 59.6 ppg.

HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH IDAHO STATE: Cal State Fullerton trails in the all-time series with Idaho State, 5-3, as the Bengals have won the last three consecutive meetings... Idaho State posted an 84-79 win over the Titans in the last meeting on Feb. 19, 2011, and won a home-and-home with Fullerton in the 2002-03 season, winning 79-70 at Titan Gym and 74-66 in Pocatello, Idaho... the Titans' last win in the series came on Dec. 20, 1983, in a 91-71 victory at home... only three of the eight meetings have come in Idaho as Fullerton is 2-3 against Idaho State in Orange County.

SCOUTING THE TIGERS: Texas Southern enters the week at just 1-8 overall, having lost its last six-straight outings, but has played a few "name" schools close in recent weeks, falling to Colorado by five in double overtime, losing to San Diego State by 12, and dropping a three-point overtime decision at Houston in its last contest... the Tigers' only win this season has come at home against Louisiana, 74-71, in overtime on Nov. 16... senior guard Omar Strong is the team's offensive leader, averaging 15 points and shooting 36 percent from the floor... he is the only player to start all nine contests for TSU this season... junior guard Raymond Penn is also in double figures at 13.7 ppg and leads the team in assists (49)... senior forward Fred Sturdivant leads the team on the boards at 7.6 rebounds per game.

HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH TEXAS SOUTHERN: Sunday's meeting in Houston will be the first-ever between the Titans and the Tigers in the sport of men's basketball.

CONFERENCE CALL: Cal State Fullerton's Big Sky Conference affiliate membership continues this week as the Titans take on their third Big Sky foe of the season on Thursday night in Idaho State... Fullerton is 1-1 against the Big Sky this season, defeating Southern Utah (112-69) and falling at Eastern Washington (79-75)... overall, the Titans are 29-30 (.492) against the current Big Sky alignment, having won four straight versus the league until the loss to EWU on Nov. 30... Fullerton is 3-1 against members of the SWAC, going 1-1 against Grambling and 1-0 against both Jackson State and Southern University... the Titans have not met a member of the SWAC since the 1981-82 season, posting a 97-60 win over Grambling on Dec. 12 at the Nike Classic hosted by UC Santa Barbara.

RETURN OF THE BRACKET BUSTER: Thursday night will mark the sixth return game for the Titans in the history of the Sears Bracket Buster series with Cal State Fullerton posting a 2-3 mark in the previous five contests, but winning the last two return games over New Mexico State on Nov. 24, 2009 (84-73), and Southern Illinois Edwardsville on Dec. 3, 2011 (79-57)... the Titans also owe a road game at Montana State stemming from last year's Bracket Buster meeting won by Fullerton, 80-66, on Feb. 18 at Titan Gym... Overall, the Titans are 6-6 in the Bracket Buster series, including a 4-3 mark in "true" Bracket Buster games, alternating wins and losses in the seven contests... Previous opponents include: Eastern Washington (1-1), Wright State (0-2), Portland State (1-1), New Mexico State (1-1), SIUE (2-0), Idaho State (0-1), and Montana State (1-0).

  BRACKET BUSTER (4-3)     RETURN GAMES (2-3)  
Date Opponent Results Date Opponent Result
2.18.06 vs. Eastern Washington W, 89-63 11.26.06 at Eastern Washington L, 110-100
2.17.07 at Wright State L, 77-62 12.22.07 vs. Wright State L, 84-80
2.23.08 vs. Portland State W, 85-69 11.23.08 at Portland State L, 76-75
2.21.09 at New Mexico State L, 94-86 11.24.09 vs. New Mexico State W, 84-73
2.20.10 vs. SIUE W, 78-74 12.3.11 at SIUE W, 79-57
2.19.11 at Idaho State L, 84-79 12.13.12 vs. Idaho State --
2.18.12 vs. Montana State W, 80-66 TBA    

HORNE LISTED AS QUESTIONABLE: Cal State Fullerton junior forward Marquis Horne is listed as questionable for Thursday's contest against Idaho State after suffering a sprained knee at practice on Dec. 1 prior to the Titans' game at Washington and a shoulder injury suffered before he started his Fullerton career that was reaggravated in practice two weeks ago. X-ray's performed on his knee on Dec. 4 were negative and results of an MRI performed on Dec. 5 showed no major damage. However, results from an MRI performed on his shoulder are still pending. Horne has missed each of the Titans' last two contests against the Huskies and Bakersfield, averaging 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting .484 from the field in six games (all starts) this season.

DESPITE LOSSES, TITANS STILL AMONG NATION'S BEST: Fullerton's recent struggles have knocked the Titans from their nation-leading perch in a few categories entering the week, but Fullerton continues to hold strong in the top 10 in three categories, including scoring (5th, 84.1 ppg), three-point field goals per game (5th, 9.5 pg), and three-point percentage (10th, .415). The Titans also rank among the top 25 in assists (17.1 apg), free throw percentage (19th, .765), and field goal percentage (25th, .482).

8-FOR-8: Seniors D.J. Seeley and Kwame Vaughn remain as the only two Titans to reach double figures in all eight games this season. Dating back to last season, Seeley, who notched back-to-back 20-point games during Fullerton's trip to Washington, has reached double figures in his last 14 consecutive games while Vaughn, who has 20-or-more points four times this season (including a game-high 22 against Bakersfield in his last outing), has a current streak of 12 games. Seeley's last single-digit game was on Feb. 18, 2011, against Montana State (6 points) while Vaughn's was on Feb. 25, 2011, at UC Davis (6 points).

"AL" BE THERE: Our apologies to the "Jackson 5." Super sixth man Alex Harris has proved to be invaulable off the bench for the Titans through eight games, standing as one of four players to average double figures in scoring this season (currently fourth on the team at 10.4 ppg) and shooting just over 49 percent from the field in the process, including .487 from three-point range. He is one of only four Titans with double digits in steals on the defensive end and has reached double figures in points in five of the team's eight contests -- including a career-high 15 points in Fullerton's win over Southern Utah on Nov. 17 in Reno, Nev.

IN THE "CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR" CATEGORY: Last week's two-point loss to CSU Bakersfield marked the Titans' third-straight single-digit defeat (by a combined eight points) and the fourth time in five losses this season that Fullerton has found itself on the wrong end of a setback of four points or fewer. In addition, with the exception of the season opener against Stanford, Fullerton has not faced a deficit of more than six points in its other six games this season.

DEUCE'S DUTY ON THE BOARDS: As the Titans prepare to hit the books for finals next week, junior Deuce Johnson has taken to hitting the boards over the team's last two contests, averaging 6.5 rpg against Washington and Bakersfield while grabbing 13 rebounds total -- two more than he collected over his first six games as a Titan combined. Offensively, he has provided a boost, averaging 8.3 points over his last four games and hitting just over 68 percent from the floor during that span, having shot 50 percent or better from the field in seven of the team's eight contests overall.

NO LEAD TOO BIG: Cal State Fullerton's struggles in the second half continued last week as the Titans' watched visiting Bakersfield rally from a 15-point second-half deficit to post a narrow win and end Fullerton's home-court winning streak at 13. The rally marked the third time in five losses that the Titans have been unable to hang-on to a double digit second-half advantage after they led by 10 points at one point early in an 80-77 loss at Nevada on Nov. 16 and a held a 14-point half-time advantage at Washington on Dec. 6.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A POINT MAKES: Score 80 points this season and the Titans have been good, posting a 3-0 record when scoring at least that many points in 2012-13. Score 79 or fewer, however, and the Titans have been not so good, finishing 0-5 when at that mark or lower.

THE ROAD LESS WON: As Cal State Fullerton prepares to hit the road for the final time in 2012, the Titans, who saw their 13-game home winning streak ended against Bakersfield, will still be looking to earn its first victory in a "true" road game this season (0-4) and snap a six-game skid that dates back to last year's one-point win on the road at Pacific (69-68) on Feb. 23 in Stockton, Calif.

D.J. GIVETH AND HE TAKETH AWAY: When not scoring, multi-faceted senior D.J. Seeley has also been doing the little things, entering the week ranked eighth in the conference in assists (3.88 apg) and leading the Big West in steals (3.00 spg). Seeley is one of only four players ranked in the top 10 in the league in both categories (Cal State Northridge's Josh Greene is second in assists and fourth in steals, UC Davis' Corey Hawkins is ninth in assists and third in steals, and Long Beach State's Mike Caffey is four in assists and eighth in steals).

THIEVES IN THE GYM: Aside from Seeley, three other Titans also rank among the league's top thieves this week as freshman Jared Brandon is seventh in the league at 1.38 spg while sophomore Alex Harris and senior Kwame Vaughn are tied for 10th at 1.25 spg.

#BULLSEYE: The marksmanship medal should go to the Titans early on in the 2012-13 season as Fullerton is, perhaps, the Big West Conference's best shooting team thus far, leading the league in three-point percentage (.415 to Cal Poly's .398) while standing a razor thin second in field goal percentage (.4821 to Pacific's .4824) and free throw percentage (.765 to Cal State Northridge's .788).

NO THREE'S FOR YOU!: While the Titans have been red hot from beyond the arc this season, also leading the league in three-point field goals made per game (9.50 pg), Fullerton's defense beyond the arc has been equally as good, holding opponents to just 27 percent from three-point range to rank atop the league and rank No. 26 in the nation entering the week's contests.

ALRIGHT, YOU'VE MADE YOUR POINT: With their win over San Diego Christian, the Titans improved to 53-1 all-time when scoring at least 100 points as the 106 points rank among the top 20 point totals in school history. Earlier this season, Cal State Fullerton's 112 points in a 43-point win over Southern Utah on Nov. 17 is tied for the sixth-highest point total in school history and the most for the Titans since they put up 118 points against Redlands just over a year ago to the day on Nov. 11, 2011. The record stands at 128 points against Chapman University on Jan. 8, 1972, in a 128-88 victory.

NOT HALF BAD: Fullerton's 56 points in the first half against San Diego Christian marked the second-high single-half point total for the Titans this season, trailing only the 57-point first half against Southern Utah. Fullerton has scored 50 points in a half four times this season, reaching the mark in both periods against the Thunderbirds and Hawks.

CENTURY CITY: Fullerton's 106 points against San Diego Christian College marked the second time this season that the Titans have reached triple digits on the scoreboard -- the fourth time in the last six seasons that they have accomplished that feat. Fullerton hasn't scored a 100 points in three games in a single season since the 2006-07 campaign when the Titans reached the century mark four times.

REAL STEAL REDUX: After scouring the record books, we were able to come up with another nugget for the Titans' 20-steal performance against Southern Utah on Nov. 17, as the total marked the most for the Fullerton defense since a 27-steal night against Lamar on Nov. 24, 1989, as part of a, 104-67, victory. The 20 swipes against Southern Utah were the most for a member of the Big West since Cal State Northridge finished with 24 swipes against Redlands on Nov. 15, 2006 and, of those 20 steals against the Thunderbirds, senior D.J. Seeley finished with nearly a third of the team's total as his career-high seven steals were just two shy of the school's single game record set by Cedric Ceballos against San Jose State on Jan. 19, 1989.